After Lou Lamoriello was conspicuously quiet for most of the summer, he completed most of the New York Islanders’ offseason work Wednesday by signing four players to multiyear contracts.
Goaltender Ilya Sorokin got $12 million over three years, homegrown winger Anthony Beauvillier $12.45 million over three years, trade deadline pickup Kyle Palmieri $20 million over four years and fourth-line mainstay Casey Cizikas $15 million over six years. The deals keep together a core that reached the third round of the playoffs each of the past two seasons.
”It’s exciting what we’re doing right now,” Cizikas said. ”We’re gearing up for another big year.”
The Islanders’ only other signing of the summer was a $46 million, eight-year deal with defenseman Adam Pelech in early August. Lamoriello traded defenseman Nick Leddy to Detroit in a salary dump, forward Jordan Eberle went to Seattle in the expansion draft and yet the rest of the team is still together for another pursuit of the Stanley Cup.
”We have a lot of unfinished business,” said Cizikas, who wants to play his entire career with the Islanders. ”The way that the season ended wasn’t ideal, but we know we have more. We know we can go further, and ultimately we want to do this with the same group.”
Cizikas and Beauvillier praised Lamoriello, the reigning general manager of the year, for doing his best to bring the core back for another run. There may not be room for Travis Zajac, who came over from the Devils with Palmieri at the deadline, or former New Jersey captain Zach Parise, but don’t count anything out with veteran training camp still three weeks from opening.
These moves put New York over the $81.5 million cap, though the club can go $6 million over by using long-term injury relief for Johnny Boychuk’s salary, since the longtime defenseman has since declared his playing days over.
Sorokin, 26, should have many years ahead on Long Island after putting up a 2.17 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in his rookie season. The Russian netminder will count $4 million against the cap through 2023-24.
Palmieri, 30, fit right in after the trade, and put up nine points in 19 playoff games. He knew right away he’d like to say, and it didn’t hurt that Lamoriello knew Palmieri well from their time together with New Jersey.
”Obviously it was a place I wanted to be, and I think the belief was that that was mutual,” Palmieri said. ”I had a good feeling it was going to work itself out.”
Like Sorokin, Beauvillier, 24, was a restricted free agent who wasn’t going anywhere. The 2018 first-round pick has 155 points in 333 NHL regular-season games, all with the Islanders.
”There’s nowhere else I’d rather play,” he said. ”I knew it was going to get done.”
Cizikas, 30, has already played 10 seasons with the Islanders and despite being an unrestricted free agent didn’t even consider signing elsewhere.
”There was no doubt,” he said. ”Long Island’s my home and it’ll always be my home.”
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